Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Tale of Two Cakes

The cake on the left a "Pumpkin Pie Cake" was baked today, by yours truly. It contains pumpkin, flour, sugar, eggs, oil, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

The cake on the left would not win a beauty contest with the cake on the right. It needs frosting, but is most likely slated for a glaze, or maybe something with cream cheese. Or maybe just whipped cream?

The cake on the right was baked, well, I don't know when it was baked but it has to be sold by October 27, 2010. It contains sugar, bleached wheat flour, whole eggs, partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil, cocoa, soybean oil, nonfat milk, corn syrun, high fructose corn syrup, leavening, cornstarch, modified food starch, salt, propylene glycol mono & diesters, natural and artifical flavor, mono Y diglycerides, guar gum, xanthan gum, locust bean gum, coconut oil, soybean lecithin, phosphoric acid, polysorbate 60, potassium sorbate & sodium bensozate , dextrin, confectioner's glaze, carnauba wax, may contain FD&C colors: Red 3&40, Yellow 5&6, Blue 1&2, Lakes Red 3& 40, Yellow 5&6, Blue 1&2 Blue. Contains wheat, soy, egg & milk products.

I am not allowed to bring the cake on the left to Duncan's school for the cake walk at his Fall Carnival. Instead, I must bring the cake on the right. So, instead of taking home a cake baked with ingredients you can pronounce, and probably have in your own pantry, you could walk away with $4.99 worth of crap you can't pronounce and you get to pump your kids full of it! And isn't propolyne glycol the same as anti-freeze?


Friday, October 15, 2010

Home Alone

Iain and Duncan got on a plane and flew to Georgia today with two of Iain's b-school pals and their boys. Oh, how I wish I could be a fly on the wall! I know they will have a great time, even though the littles will miss their mommies just a bit, and bug the daddies just a bit. But the daddies are all top-notch and great fun will be had. I just hope they take pictures and change underwear.

My mom and sister are keeping Claire and Finn tonight. After I dropped off Man and Boy #1 at the airport, I went to my sister's and mom's and hung around just long enough to not feel like I was leaving my children and running out the door, and went to get a manicure and pedicure.

I was there over TWO hours. I waited almost an hour, but once they got started it was pretty relaxing. I think my toes and fingernails look pretty good! I made a brief stop in the Tuesday Morning next door, filled a basket with things I thought I needed them put them all back and left empty handed. Why do I do that? It must fill a need.

My next stop was Sally Beauty Supply because the hair needs help. I had the most helpful, awesome girl help me pick a hair color and goop to mix it with, got some good top coat for my new nails and was back in the van.

Next stop? TCBY for a small cone. I hadn't eaten since before we left for the airport but wasn't really that hungry for something dinner-ish. The fro-yo hit the spot. Then, straight home to get caught up on my guilty pleasure television...Project Runway.

The strange, twisty part? I'm a bit lonely. I am surrounded by people all day every day. Mostly little people, but sometimes big people too. And I love being alone. I love being alone in my home. I crave it, and was really looking forward to this little 24-hour time period. And I AM enjoying it. But, I am a little lonely and missing my family...just enough. Not overwhelmingly so. There is a wonderful, warm security in being surrounded by your family at night. I am so lucky to have that.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Interview with Myself

I ran into myself the other day, and thought I'd take the opportunity to ask myself some questions.

Me: So, I've noticed that you have an unusual system regarding your clean laundry. What is it that inspired you to just move it from the chair to the bed, then the bed back to the chair, and so on, for days? Rather than just putting it away?

Myself: Most days, it works for me. Until, that is, I have something much more pressing and time-sensitive that needs to get done. Then, putting away the laundry seems like a good idea. It's the little known 8th habit of highly effective people.

Me: So, what is up with your hair?

Myself: I know there is someone to blame for my hair, I'm just not sure who at this point. I was talked into an all-over color, a very blonde all over color. And when I try to go really, really blonde I tend to get kind of red as well (which I don't like.) So now, I have some pretty heinous roots AND my hair is starting to look yellowy and brassy and that vague strawberry blonde, which again I hate. (Note: I hate it on me...I have no ill-will towards anyone else who wants to go that color.) I think I will remedy with another all-over, darker color.

Me: What are you making for dinner tonight?

Myself: Well, tonight we are going to church for dinner. The bad side of this plan is that Iain is out of town so I will have to get all three of them there, out of the car, into the church, down to the Fellowship Hall, get Claire and Finn into high chairs, get food for them, watch while they don't eat it and throw it on the floor, clean them and get them back upstairs. The good side is that I can feed them all, and myself, for about five bucks, I don't have to cook it, and I can then drop them all three off for music and missions for an hour while I join some friends for fellowship and devotionals (which usually turns into a totally fun gab session, with some devotion thrown in for good measure.) And the sweet ladies in Claire and Finn's class will put them in their jammies for me.

Me: How are your kids doing?

Myself: Oh, fine! Duncan just got his first report card and it was good. Tomorrow night is our first ever parent/teacher conference. What do I wear? We only have ten minutes so it's kind of like speed dating. Finn is just as loud as he is sweet. He wakes up wanting to give eveyone a kiss. Takes his blankie everywhere. Tells a mean knock-knock joke and still wont eat anything besides dry cereal, chips, apple slices, tater tots, fish sticks and crackers. He wants to be just like Duncan. Claire. Oh, where do I start. Sugar and spice. Sweet and sour. She has embraced the age of 2 more than the boys. Fiercely independent but wants to be included in everything. Nuts about her Daddy. A bit on the dramatic side. Sometimes (often) hear her saying, "Help! Mommy! I stuck!" from her crib. Love her.

Me: So, what else would you like to tell our readers? What else is going on?

Myself: Life is good.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Losin' it

So, as soon as Duncan started kindergarten I started going back to the gym. He has never done too great in the child care (not sure exactly why) but Claire and Finn do fabulous. They toddle right down the sidewalk, in the door, greet all the Silver Sneakers crew, and go straight to the child care room where they walk in practically without looking back.

So, I started out walking on the treadmill. And that was good, for a while. Then I realized how many people I knew had taken up running, several with the couch to 5K program. So, being that I am the person who has said things like "I don't understand you people who run" and "I have never run and I know I never will"...I started running. And I like it. See, that's all you have to do. Say you don't like something and you'll never do it then BAM! You will be doing it.

So, I have been doing the couch to 5K program for about three weeks. Some things I have learned:
  • It is far better and easier to run, and run faster and longer, with good music. I initially made the mistake of trying to watch CNN while I ran.
  • Good shoes seem critical.
  • Even if I cannot hear myself singing Ice Ice Baby, everyone else at the Y can.
  • I can see how and why people love the sport, but I have a long way to go.
  • I do not see how I can run outside in Texas, in the summer.

So, while I have not stepped on the scale in many weeks I think I've lost some weight but one of the things I do while I am running/walking is to envision a certain pair of jeans being so big that I have to give them away.

I will let you know when that happens.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

On This Day

Nine years ago today I gave birth to a baby boy, who probably would have weighed about nine pounds if he had not lost so much blood. He looked alot like Iain and he looked alot like me. He lived about 36 hours. The purpose of this post is not to re-hash his death and how horrific that was. It is too painful of a process and I rarely do it anymore.

The purpose of this post, however, is to talk about what this day does to me now. Nine years later.

On this day, I have him on my mind all day long. It is a heavy weight but I relish it in a is a time that I feel like I can devote to that, and I don't have much time for that anymore.

On this day, no matter how ill-behaved our living breathing children are, I seem to be able to renew my patience, my gratitude and my ability to put things in perspective. That is a real gift. I know horrific and terrible, and nothing that I experience in my day to day life at this point is either! Temper tantrums pass (and I had some doozies today), crayon can be washed off, messes can be cleaned up. My dad had a philosophy that if it wont matter in two weeks, don't waste too much time worrying about it today. I take that one step further. If nobody is dying, you can fight through it, work it out, clean it up, make it better or sleep it off.

So, on this day, hug and kiss your kids and give yourself a break. Keep it in perspective. And pray for those who have lost a child to miscarriage, still birth or infant death.


Saturday, October 09, 2010

It Is Good To Be Duncan

This weekend (and it's not yet over, people) started on Thursday and has gone full force for Boy #1.

After school on Thursday we picked him up from school and went straight to the Texas State Fair. While we are still working on holiday traditions, one thing our family does every year, without fail, no matter what the weather, or how pregnant I am, is go to the State Fair of Texas. So this year, we planned to go on a week day, after school. And it was totally fun. The weather was a bit hot at first, but soon cooled down. We spent time at the Hands On Farm, saw Big Tex, the newly refurbished Children's Aquarium (where Duncan finally worked up the nerve to pet a sting ray...after almost an hour of trying), rode the Texas Star ferris wheel, ate corny dogs and cotton candy (well, except for Finn who only eats raisins and chips), and watched the parade. There was minimal grumpiness and foot stomping. Duncan and Iain also went to look at the cars in the auto show, and sat in a Corvette and one of those hot new Camaros. And he got to ride the race car ride on the Kidway. Really, does it get much better if you are five?

All three came home exhausted and probably over stimulated but it was totally worth it.

Friday after school, I could tell he was tired, but we must press on! There is more fun to be had! He had a birthday party to go to for one of his best little friends that involved happy meals and miniature golf. I noticed he was starting to break down, but we pushed through...even when he planted himself firmly in his booster seat when I was dropping him off at the party. I texted the boy's mom later to see if all was well, and it was. I picked him up at about 8:15 and found a happy, running, out of breath from excitement boy. Again, a late night but it was Friday so it was good. Home and to bed.

Today we woke up early..big surprise...and left almost immediately for my mom's and sister's. My mom and her "friend who is a man", Leroy, took Duncan to a parade and festival in the small town where Leroy lives. I sent him with a small plastic bucket for candy, that was to be thrown from the parade floats. Like, about the size of a Cool Whip tub small. My sister, Claire and Finn and I hung out at my sister's house while he was gone. About an hour and a half later, he came home with a grocery sack full of candy. And a big smile on his face. I heard about the "Jesus times" village with the camels and the donkeys...and the bounce house. I guess Jesus would have probably enjoyed a bounce house, huh?

We all had some down time then got ready to go for dinner to celebrate my sister's birthday. We had Italian food (except Finn...because...well, you know why) and the kids played in a little enclosed play area that was right outside the restaraunt. Then back to my mom's and sister's for cheesecake. Well, Claire, Becky and I had cheesecake. Duncan had...wait...a coffee cup full of whipped cream with sprinkles on it and Finn had nothing. Because he only eats raisins and chips. Then it was baths for the babies and home. And to bed! Oh my heavens to bed!

Tomorrow we shall worship our lord and come home and not leave the house until Monday morning.

Monday, October 04, 2010

I Will Not Talk Him Off The Ledge

Why is it I think of reasonably good things to blog about while I am driving? Then I get home and it's all vanished from my brain. Ah...middle age.

Iain is traveling so I had to take Duncan to school this morning. I was kind of looking forward to it, because I have not done it since the first week of school. I got the babies changed and dressed, got Duncan dressed, got a decent lunch for him made, his backpack ready, and a cup of coffee in my system and we were out the door a few minutes before 8:00. I looked back at him while we were driving and saw tears welling up in his eyes and a very crest-fallen look on his face. Heavy sigh. I pulled up in front of the school where Thee Shall Not Park and told him he'd have to walk inside by himself. As he walked away, with his Spiderman back pack and his red Converse tennis shoes he looked So.Very.Small to me. I held it together but barely, and suddenly longed for the days of him driving me nuts, play dates, blanket forts and seeing him in his underwear all day long, refusing to put shorts on. Perhaps this is normal and what all moms feel, while watching their very small five year old boys put on a brave face for mom and trudge into kindergarten...but perhaps not.

So, I took Claire and Finn to the Y, put them in child care and worked out. I am doing the Couch to 5K training program and no one is more surprised than me that I am enjoying it. I do need some good music though because right now all I have on my ipod is Eye of the Tiger. I am not a music person.

After the Y, we came home and had some lunch (and when I say "we" I mean Claire and I...Finn had a few Cheerios this morning and I'm sure was absolutely stuffed) and I put them down for a nap. I cleaned house while they slept and think I have finally caught up from the few days a few weeks ago when Claire and I both got the pukes. Suddenly, it was time to go pick up Duncan and I was really ready and anxious to see him. Pick up has gotten alot better from a logistical stand point. I pull up on a side street, right outside the door where his class gets out. It is now only his class that comes out of this door, and if I get there early enough can just pop out of the car and meet him at the door, never having to step more than twenty or thirty feet. When I got him today, he was very disappointed. Because now, all the kids from his class come out the door and sit on a little ledge just outside the door and wait for their moms and dads. I suppose this is the equivalent of...well....I'm not sure but I guess it's the thing to do and he wanted to do it but I got there too soon so he didn't get to sit on the ledge and wait for me. I promised him that tomorrow I will let him sit on the ledge. Even if I am sitting twenty feet away staring at him from the van.

We drove straight out to my sister's and mom's to say good bye to my brother and his wife who were here visiting from Montana. Duncan is really fond of both of them so it was important to me and to him that we go say goodbye. They left for the airport shortly after we got there but it was worth the trip out and back home again. We came home, got the babies to bed, and Duncan and I sat down at the table to get his homework done. He had to trace his name four times and write it ten times. And that took at least. Forty five. Minutes. Finally got them all in bed and asleep and am now watching The Event and burning my new Nefertiti candle (b-day gift from my sis) and am about to have a Tom Collins.

And tomorrow, my son shall sit on the ledge with what I can only assume are the cool kids.